A 'Common' Goal

2 February 2010

Costain's staff at the Bell Common M25 tunnel refurbishment programme for the Highways Agency, have gone into 2010 determined to maintain their 2009 safety performance that saw them turn in more than a million man-hours without a single reportable accident.  

Up to 200 people are working on the £90million programme to bring the tunnel on the northern stretch of the M25 London orbital motorway up to the latest safety standards.

The project got underway in October 2008 and is currently "significantly ahead" of the projected March 2010 completion date, although Project Manager, Andy Firth, cautions that much commissioning work remains to be done before the tunnel can be handed back to the Highways Agency.

He puts much of the speedy progress to date down to an established supply-chain and an integrated project delivery team with the client's representatives, Mouchel.  Extensive off-site precasting and prefabrication of components for the refurbishment has also helped.

Moving this work off-site has also helped in the project's fine safety record to date, says Firth. By the end of 2009, around 1.1 million man-hours had been completed without a reportable accident. Firth puts the safety record down to "Very careful planning and lots of innovation in terms of the work. There's also very close interaction with the supply chain, which is the same as on our similar previous M25 job, the Holmesdale tunnel."

Other factors helping to keep down the accident rate include a site drug and alcohol policy, plus medicals for all personnel before they start work.